IMPALA speech at CEDC event “Next EU budget: What about culture and creative Europe?”

Brussels, 26th June 2018

IMPALA is the European association of independent music companies. We have 4,000 members across Europe and a keen interest in the topic of today’s breakfast discussion.

Thanks a lot for having me, thanks CEDC for organising and thanks MEP Wenta for hosting this very timely event.

We are here today to talk about Creative Europe, the EU’s programme for cultural and creative sectors (CCS), and the post 2020 EU budget.

The contribution of Europe’s CCS to the economy is now well established (4,4% of EU GDP and 12 million full-time jobs), and as MEP Wenta said we know they hold a key role in reindustrialising Europe.

Of course the contribution of these sectors goes far beyond this: just think of the omnipresence in our lives of music, films, books and other art forms. And think also of the impact on other sectors such as tourism or advertising. Cultural works are everywhere.

CCS are among Europe’s strongest assets and you would expect them to be a big priority for the EU. After all, we should be building on our strengths and Europe is a leader when it comes to culture and creativity.

Yet the proposed budget for Creative Europe, which is hailed by many as ambitious – and as IMPALA we also welcomed the proposal as a good starting point – is still a drop in the ocean: with €1.85bn it represents a mere 0,16% of the overall EU budget.

We’re talking here about a programme which aims to help trigger more investment in a sector that contributes much more than it gets back, which happens to be underfinanced and is still too often underestimated by national and European budgets. (And which – we must recall – faces a host of challenges, from concentration to lack of diversity, through to digitisation and the lack of cross-border mobility of artists and works, etc.)

So while the overall figures mark an increase over the current programme, I would give a word - in fact a few words - of caution:

  • Culture should be much higher in the EU’s priorities inside and outside creative Europe. Here I would like to remind you that in 2012 the same initial amount was proposed and we ended up with a programme of €1.4bn.
  • We still need to see details of programmes, and
  • While we were told Cultural and Creative Sector Guarantee Facility (CCS GF) was being moved out of Creative Europe and into a new programme grouping several investment funds (investEU), it now seems there will be no more Guarantee Facility specifically dedicated to CCS SMEs.

So suddenly the overall budget doesn’t seem so big at all. And it’s a pity because the CCS GF is an innovative way of generating more investment - if this is confirmed it’s really bad news. CCS GF only started rolling out last year, it’s in high demand and holds a key role in getting financial institutions and the sector to better understand each other.

Also, the much-needed synergies with other programmes are not that clear. And this is important, because this should not be just about Creative Europe but also about taking CCS into account in some of the EU’s other programmes.

Of course the discussions around the post 2020 EU budget and programmes are just starting. We call on member states and parliament to build on the EC proposal and fight for an increase of the overall budget, a clarification of programmes, the reintroduction of a dedicated guarantee facility for CCS, and better integration of culture in other programmes. This would be in line with the European Parliament’s recommendations such as the CULT committee opinion on the budget and the Ehler/Morgano recommendations published already back in 2016, as well as the recent study prepared by the consultancy KEA for the CULT committee. A strong budget has also been called for by the sector via a letter signed by over 70 organisations.

Now I would like to say a few words specifically about music.

About a year ago, in this same building, we had an event around possible EU support for music.

Since then, the European Parliament has adopted the Music Moves Europe preparatory action, a €1,5m envelope meant to test projects on a small scale, and put in place the building blocks for broader support for music as part of the post 2020 EU budget.

And a few weeks ago, the EC announced - for the very first time - sectoral support for music as part of the post-2020 Creative Europe programme.

We’ve come a long way, and I’d like to take the opportunity of this event to thank personally Mr. Wenta, who’s been supportive from the very start, his colleague Kasia who’s been instrumental in helping get the preparatory action through, and Ms. Costa and Ms. Trüpel (present today) who also signed the proposed preparatory action and showed their support on more than one occasion.

The whole music sector is backing this. It’s a sector which is very dynamic and a big contributor to jobs and growth, accounting for 1m jobs and over €25bn in turnover. But in terms of EU funding it has for the most part not been able to benefit adequately. It is time to have dedicated EU funding for music i) to unlock the huge potential of a sector which is structurally underfinanced and has historically been overlooked, and ii) because a lot of the challenges facing the music sector have a European dimension (from the mobility of artists and repertoire across borders, to the diversity of music accessed online and offline, through the promotion of local repertoire or the export of European music outside Europe, etc.).

So to sum up, we call on the European Parliament and member states to support a strong budget for culture - which we believe means an increase compared to what we have on the table - and to allocate a meaningful part of the budget to support the music sector.

Finally, we shouldn’t forget that this culture is not just about jobs and growth, but also about soft power and the ability of Europe to promote its values on a global level.

As IMPALA we look forward to continuing the discussion with the sector, the parliament, member states and the commission.

To conclude, I would like to thank CEDC again for the invitation, MEP Wenta for hosting, and all of you for attending.

Matthieu Philibert, Public Affairs Manager, IMPALA

About IMPALA
IMPALA was established in April 2000 to represent European independent music companies. 99% of Europe’s music companies are SMEs. Known as the “independents”, they are world leaders in terms of innovation and discovering new music and artists - they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector's jobs (for more information, see the features of independents). IMPALA's mission is to grow the independent music sector, return more value to artists, promote cultural diversity and entrepreneurship, improve political access and modernise perceptions of the music sector. See the organisation's key achievements in IMPALA's milestones.

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